Yesterday, in association with the Los Angeles International Auto Show, General Motors announced that the Spark Electric Vehicle would be released next year in California, South Korea, Oregon, Canada, and other global markets. GallonDaily commends GM for including Canada in its initial product release.
The Spark is a five-door pure electric mini-car that GM claims will have a better range than its rivals, though no actual range figures have been released by the Company. So far GallonDaily is impressed, particularly by the recharging options which include 120v, 240v, and DC Fast Charge, which apparently will be able to recharge the battery pack to 80% of a full charge in 20 minutes.
It is important to remember that the current generation of EVs are essentially urban vehicles. It is unlikely that even the Spark EV will be able to travel from Toronto to Barrie and back, or Vancouver to Abbotsford and back, without recharging. Calgary to Edmonton return, or Montreal to Quebec City return, are not within current possibilities without on route recharging.
While GallonDaily is convinced that EVs have a role in replacement of gasoline vehicles, we also see it as important not to see electric mini-cars as a solution. If the electric mini-car becomes even more popular than conventional gasoline cars our cities risk becoming even more congested and energy use for transportation could in fact increase. Reducing the environmental footprint of transportation in cities means improving public transportation services and using public transit whenever possible. Despite their smaller environmental footprint, mini-cars are just as capable, perhaps more capable, of causing congestion and chaos in cities as existing vehicle designs. More responsible mobility in the context of Canada’s geography may mean personal transportation for low density inter-urban routes and public transportation for movement within the city. Current technology limitations mean that we are actually getting the reverse of this.
For GM’s press release about the Spark EV visit http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Nov/laas/1127-spark-ev.html